Civil society ministers to go head-to-head in live ‘question time’ debate

Civil society ministers to go head-to-head in live ‘question time’ debate

Civil society ministers to go head-to-head in live ‘question time’ debate4

Finance | Niki May Young | 4 May 2012

Civil Society Media is to host a live question time-style debate with Nick Hurd, Gareth Thomas and Sir Stuart Etherington as the coalition government reaches the end of its first two years in power.

Chaired by Charity Finance editor Andrew Hind, the minister for civil society, shadow minister and NCVO chief executive will answer readers' questions and debate key issues affecting the sector on 16 May, with exclusive films and coverage shown on the next day.

The coalition government two years in” will put Hurd under scrutiny over actions taken in his two years as minister for civil society, while Thomas is expected to have his opposing action dissected. As leader of the charity sector’s largest umbrella body, Sir Stuart is expected to answer questions on the funding situation, representation of the sector and support during the debate.

An audience of chief executives and leaders from across the sector will ask questions directly and readers of, Charity Finance, Governance and Fundraising magazines will also have their questions posed during the two-hour event.  Others can follow the debate live on Twitter using the hashtag #CSQT.

This is the first time the ministers have taken part in a public head-to-head debate of this kind and is the first chance the sector will have to challenge the ministers in this way. Daniel Phelan, editor-in-chief of Civil Society Media explained why it is important to do so at this time:

"This live debate between charity leaders and the politicians that represent civil society in Parliament is a compelling opportunity to influence the political agenda at a time when charities are being bombarded by policy bombshells and funding cuts.

"It is a rare chance to challenge the impact of government policy on the work of charities and to directly promote the issues which charities feel most strongly about."

You can pose your questions via this link, a selection of which will be asked at the debate.


Carl Allen
14 May 2012

Through the Gift Aid/tax relief mechanism for donations made to registered charities, the government indirectly allocates and channels an annual but unknown sum of tax money to charitable activities. Here unknown means that the amount is not known at the beginning of a period of time and there is no set quantum over time.

In particular some money that would normally come to HMRC as tax is foregone from individual higher-rate taxpayers on a recurrent basis “without limit” via tax relief.

POINT a “without limit” provision does not exclude periodic review and indeed any without limit provision demands periodic review as a prudent measure.

While I do not know if charity tax relief predates the Compact agreement, a charity tax relief principle for individuals (and Gift Aid for organisations principle) certainly falls within the compact agreement as at least proof that the two parties to the compact agreement have a working relationship that goes beyond a contract.

Now a charity tax relief cap represents a fundamental shift not so much in the principle but in the implementation of the principle so that the introduction of a cap is not only a tax matter but a compact matter.


Is the shift one for negotiation, mediation, a sole government decision or just campaigning?

And that it all starts with consultation but that consultation is not a substitute for analysis of the issue … so where are the Compact experts on this matter?

Chief Questioner
Awkward Questions
6 May 2012

It is appreciated that not all questions sent can be raised at the debate but I, and one assumes others also, would appreciate a link to all the questions sent to the link.

William Prior
Craiglockhart Trust
4 May 2012

...and the same NCVO (in the guise of its puppet Compact Voice) who sold the third sector down the river when it signed the new Compact.

Chief Questioner
Awkward Questions
4 May 2012

NCVO was an integral supporter of the recent campaign to get the Treasury to financially support those charities affected by investments in Icelandic banks. The investments turned bad and the Treasury refused to compensate charities for bad investments.

One Treasury reason was that such funding support would have to come from funding destined to support the wider sector and that one of the main losers would be the small voluntary and community groups sector.
Given this bias, why does NCVO feel it can speak on behalf of the entire sector?

And by way of note this was the same NCVO (with ACEVO) that refused significant government funding to set up a Leadership Centre for the sector.


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